(Updated, Nov. 19 at 5 p.m.) What makes cheerleading squads of the country’s biggest universities work so hard choreographing and rehearsing routines all year long? You could say it’s about school spirit and pride, pursuit for excellence in the sport and that prize money.
Except this year, that last item should be a much smaller factor.
The yearly UAAP Cheerdance Competition is one of the most high-profile dancing matches around, dangling the biggest cash prizes for the sport.
Last year’s grand champions, the Adamson Pep Squad, took home P340,000 in cash besides sponsor-given goodies. First runner-up University of Santo Tomas Salinggawi Dance Troupe got P200,000 in 2017, while the University of the East Pep Squad bagged P140,000 for ranking third.
For 2018, however, talented university cheerleaders will compete over a much reduced set of cash prizes:
Students, alumni and fans of the universities usually express support for their squads on social media and, well,
trash talk attempt to intimidate rival teams with memes and observations.
As expected, the smaller prizes for the winners did not escape their attention. Here are some of their hilarious theories on why this happened:
The country’s record-breaking inflation rate in recent months may have affected the organizers’ capacity to come up with amounts equal or higher than last year’s.
Grabe talaga inflation no, pati prize ng #UAAPCDC2018 natamaan
— isaiah (@isaiahforfree) November 17, 2018
— ™ (@kataydall) November 17, 2018
2. Typographical error
Whoever typed the amounts may have left out the zeroes.
Baka naman typo or kulang ng zero hahahaha
— Karen Gaton (@kdgaton) November 17, 2018
— eliza seniego (@elixxx) November 17, 2018
3. Lack of donors
This is a much more reasonable theory. The much awaited cheering tiff may have lost big-time funders who could have boosted the cash prizes.
Hindi manlang ba nag donate si Henry Sy pandagdag sa prize? 😂😂😂😂 #UAAPCDC2018
— raena nepomuceno (@RaenaPatricia) November 17, 2018
The theories were not just limited to why the cash prizes have seen a contraction this year. Viewers also jokingly attributed perceived shortcomings of the performers to the smaller prizes.
Breaking news: De La Salle U will no longer join CDC 2019. They’ve decided to co-sponsor the event instead. Dagdagan daw nila cash prize. #UAAPCDC2018
— Cleve Arguelles (@CleveArguelles) November 17, 2018
(Note: De La Salle University’s pep squad did join the competition.)
Panu gaganahan ang la salle, eh mas mataas pa tuition nila kesa dun sa grand prize. XD #UAAPCDC2018
— Al Fawaris (@alfawarisph) November 17, 2018
— Joseph Cataan (@JosephCataan) November 17, 2018
Pride over prize
Many of the fans pointed out that the squads’ preparation, props and outfits could have cost them more than the potential cash prize.
But whatever the reason was for the prize cuts, the contestants could put value in representing their schools and inspiring a sense of pride and support for their teams.
wala na sa cash prize yan !! Pride na ang usapan dito !! #UAAPCDC2018
— ConCon❗ (@JayyyElll) November 17, 2018
UAAP exec gives an answer
Rebo Saguisag, executive director of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines, addressed the questions about the smaller cheerdance content prize.
In a statement over the weekend, Saguisag explained that a bulk of the funds that would have comprised the prizes for the main competition had already been distributed among the eight cheer squads prior to the big day:
“On substantive grounds, the Cheerdance Grant is supposedly for the benefit of the cheerdance programs of ALL member-universities. A bigger chunk is now distributed among the 8 member schools instead of focusing on the top 3 finishers.”
“It is likewise a move more consistent with the mission of the UAAP to promote amateur sports among the students of the member universities where primary motivation is the pursuit of school pride instead of monetary gain.
“It is a reminder that in the UAAP, you do not always have to finish first, in order to WIN.”